Winter drilling at Pine Point has found positive signs that might reduce the cost of developing a mine at the site, east of Hay River.
On June 2, Osisko Metals reported on the initial results of its winter hydrogeological drilling program.
“New hydrogeological testing at Pine Point indicates a significant and positive change to the company’s understanding of ground water flow conditions with potential to significantly reduce costs related to future dewatering,” stated a news release from Osisko Metals. “The underground water flow appears to be preferentially controlled by faults and/or fracture zones with little influence related to formational aquifers.”
An aquifer is a layer of water-bearing rock.
The company is assessing restarting zinc/lead mining at Pine Point, where Cominco operated a mine from 1964-1988.
Osisko Metals said the new information will be included in an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in the first quarter of 2022 with a new 3D hydrogeological model, and it should significantly lower estimates for life-of-mine water management.
Testing has been completed on 10 water well holes from the 18 drill holes completed over the winter. Only two of the 18 holes produced water to surface and those are located in the northernmost area of the property, outside the mineralized trends.
“These preliminary results represent a paradigm shift concerning underground water infiltration at Pine Point,” said Robert Wares, the chairperson and CEO of Osisko Metals, adding it is anticipated that they will result in a more efficient dewatering plan.
“Cominco operated successfully at Pine Point for 24 years and demonstrated that mine dewatering was manageable in the main part of the camp, and we firmly believe, especially in light of these preliminary results, that this will also be the case in the southwestern portion of the camp which includes the high-grade West Zone deposits,” Wares continued.
Further results from the hydrogeological program are expected later this year.
Osisko Metals has retained Hydro-Ressources Inc. to model hydrogeology at Pine Point.
Hydro-Ressources Inc. is a well-known international consulting firm that specializes in mine dewatering and hydrogeological technology development. It has expertise in operational dewatering in both open pit and underground mines globally, including experience in similar base metal mines.
Hydro-Ressources Inc. will use the Osisko Metals’ 3D site-wide geological model to continue hydrogeological testing and investigations to better characterize water flow at Pine Point.